Aus chinesischer Sicht war es gut gelaufen: Bei der Abschlusspressekonferenz der WHO-Mission vergangene Woche in Wuhan gab es keine Kritik an China. Allerdings auch keine wirklich dramatisch neuen Erkenntnisse über den Ursprung der Pandemie. Jetzt aber kommen aus dem Kreis der WHO-Experten Forderungen nach Zugang zu mehr chinesischen Daten, um die Spur der Pandemie weiter zurückverfolgen zu können.
Die Forschung müsse sich aber darauf konzentrieren, wie das Virus in Tieren zirkuliert, bevor Menschen infiziert werden, sagte der Experte. Ein Virus, das eine Pandemie auslösen kann, müsse bereits an den menschlichen Kontakt angepasst sein, sagte Liang.
He said: ‘The thing was built with French help, so don’t think that there aren’t some monitoring devices in there. I think what you are going to find out is that these guys were doing experiments which they weren’t fully authorised [for] or knew what they were doing and that somehow, either through an inadvertent mistake, or on a lab technician, one of these things got out.
‘It’s not that hard for these viruses to get out. That is why these labs are so dangerous.
‘You essentially had a biological Chernobyl in Wuhan, but the centre of gravity, the Ground Zero, was round the Wuhan lab, in terms of the casualty rates. And like Chernobyl, you also had the cover-up – the state apparatus reports to itself and just protects itself.’
The source of the virus remains a mystery. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday that U.S. intelligence indicates that the coronavirus likely occurred naturally, as opposed to being created in a laboratory in China, but there is no certainty either way.
“The idea that it was just a totally natural occurrence is circumstantial. The evidence it leaked from the lab is circumstantial. Right now, the ledger on the side of it leaking from the lab is packed with bullet points and there’s almost nothing on the other side,” the official said.
As my colleague David Ignatius noted, the Chinese government’s original story — that the virus emerged from a seafood market in Wuhan — is shaky. Research by Chinese experts published in the Lancet in January showed the first known patient, identified on Dec. 1, had no connection to the market, nor did more than one-third of the cases in the first large cluster. Also, the market didn’t sell bats.